HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 15
Page: 9 of 29
Text: A | A | A
All Chapter 15 Footnotes

With DeLuna a day away from execution, Steven Schiwetz broke his silence. But it wasn't to provide DeLuna's Dallas attorney with clues to the whereabouts of a Carlos Hernandez or to draw anyone's attention to Hernandez's recent arrest for the Dahlia Sauceda killing. Rather, Schiwetz responded to statements made by DeLuna for Linda Carrico's eve-of-execution article in the Caller-Times that day.121

DeLuna, Carrico wrote, "contends he will die for a crime he did not commit if he is executed for the 1983 fatal stabbing of a Corpus Christi service station clerk."122

"But the prosecutor who successfully sought and won the death penalty for DeLuna," she continued, "said his claims that another man was responsible for the clerk's death are outright lies. 'Everything he passed onto us was checked out. The bottom line is he lied to us,' said former Assistant District Attorney Steve Schiwetz, now in private practice."123

"In a Caller interview, DeLuna said he was arrested because he was in the area and authorities needed a suspect. DeLuna claimed he was across the street and saw the killing, but walked away without reporting what he saw."124

"'I knew since I had been convicted before in Dallas County they would pin this one on me,' DeLuna said. . . . DeLuna claims he is a victim of mistaken identity. He said a friend, Carlos Hernandez, killed the clerk but authorities refuse to believe him."125

"'That's a lie,' Schiwetz said. 'He lied throughout the trial, and he's lying now.' It was on the first day of the trial, Schiwetz said, that DeLuna told his court-appointed attorney, Jim Lawrence, about Hernandez, whom he said he met while both were in the Nueces County Jail."126

"'Further checks showed that DeLuna had never been in jail the same time as a Carlos Hernandez,' the former prosecutor added."127

"DeLuna was arrested a block away from the murder scene after he was found hiding under a car. In his pants pocket was a wad of money—the same amount that had been taken from the service station's cash register, Schiwetz said."128

* * * * *

The same day—with only twelve hours to go before DeLuna's scheduled execution—Schiwetz's former boss, District Attorney Grant Jones, agreed to a delay.129 Federal Judge Hayden W. Head, Jr., immediately granted it.130

"Death row inmate Carlos DeLuna missed his appointment with death yesterday," Carrico wrote in her front-page article the next day.131 She quoted Schiwetz saying he was not surprised. "'I expected it. . . . You just have to be patient,' he said." 132

But Mary Vargas, Wanda Lopez's mother, told Carrico she was out of patience.133

"[DeLuna's execution is] the only way I feel that justice will be done because [Wanda] didn't deserve to die," she said, visibly upset.134 "I want him to pay for what he did to her. She offered him everything, yet he still killed her. . . . I have asked over and over again, 'Why her?'"135

Press reports said Carlos spent the day quietly with his sister Rose and several of his half-sisters and brothers.136

"Thank goodness!" he reportedly said when given news of the delay.137

* * * * *

Linda Carrico, DeLuna Is Scheduled to Be Executed Tomorrow, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Oct. 14, 1986, at B1:

Death Row inmate Carlos DeLuna contends he will die for a crime he did not commit if he is executed for the 1983 fatal shooting of a Corpus Christi service station clerk.

But the prosecutor who successfully sought and won the death penalty for DeLuna said his claims that another man was responsible for the clerk's death are outright lies.

"Everything he passed onto us was checked out. The bottom line is he lied to us," said former Assistant District Attorney Steve Schiwetz, now in private practice . . . .

DeLuna, now 24, maintains he is innocent even though a jury found him guilty of Ms. Lopez's death and two appeals courts upheld that conviction and death sentence.

In a Caller interview, DeLuna said he was arrested because he was in the area and authorities needed a suspect. DeLuna claimed he was across the street and saw the killing, but walked away without reporting what he saw.

"I knew since I had been convicted before in Dallas County they would pin this one on me," DeLuna said . . . .

DeLuna claims he is a victim of mistaken identity. He said a friend, Carlos Hernandez, killed the clerk but authorities refuse to believe him. "

That's a lie," Schiwetz said. "He lied throughout the trial, and he's lying now." It was on the first day of the trial, Schiwetz said, that DeLuna told his court-appointed attorney, Jim Lawrence, about Hernandez whom he said he met while both were in the Nueces County Jail.

"We got pictures of all the Carlos Hernandezes who had been in the jail the last 10 years and gave them to him to pick the guy out. He couldn't," Schiwetz said.

"Further checks showed that DeLuna had never been in jail the same time as a Carlos Hernandez," the former prosecutor added . . . .

DeLuna was arrested a block away from the murder scene after he was found hiding under a car. In his pants pocket was a wad of money—the same amount that had been taken from the service station's cash register, Schiwetz said.

See supra note 121.

See supra note 121.

See supra note 121.

See supra note 121.

See supra note 121.

See supra note 121.

See supra note 121.

See Associated Press, Inmate Gains Stay 12 Hours Before Set Execution, Oct. 15, 1986 ("A federal judge granted convicted killer Carlos DeLuna a stay of execution Tuesday, just 12 hours before he was to die by injection for the 1983 robbery-slaying of a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk. . . . The state Attorney General's office did not oppose the stay, said Marianne Bolus, a deputy clerk for Head.");

see also Linda Carrico, Judge Grants DeLuna Stay of Execution, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Oct. 15, 1986 ("Death row inmate Carlos DeLuna missed his appointment with death yesterday when a Corpus Christi federal judge granted him a stay just 12 hours before his scheduled execution. . . . Steve Schiwetz, the former prosecutor who successfully sought the death penalty for DeLuna, said he was not surprised by the stay. 'I expected it. These things take time. You just have to be patient,' he said.").

Indicating that Nueces County District Attorney Grant Jones was representing the State of Texas at this point in the proceedings along with attorneys from the State Attorney General's Office is, e.g., Letter from Richard Banks, Executive Administrator, to Attorneys in DeLuna v. State, No. 16,436–01 (Tex. Crim. App. Oct. 13, 1986) (enclosing court's order denying stay of execution and petition for habeas corpus and copying Grant Jones, Nueces County District Attorney, and Paula Offenhauser, Assistant Attorney General).

Order Denying Pets. for Habeas Corpus and Stay of Execution, DeLuna v. Lynaugh (S.D. Tex. Dec. 2, 1989) at 49 ("On October 13, 1986, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied all requested relief. DeLuna immediately filed a motion for stay of execution and a petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court. The Court granted a stay of execution on October 14, 1986." (citations omitted));

see Linda Carrico, Judge Grants DeLuna Stay of Execution, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Oct. 15, 1986 ("Death row inmate Carlos DeLuna missed his appointment with death yesterday when a Corpus Christi federal judge granted him a stay just 12 hours before his scheduled execution. . . . U.S. District Jude Hayden Head, Jr. granted DeLuna a stay pending review of an application for writ of habeas corpus.").

Linda Carrico, Judge Grants DeLuna Stay of Execution, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Oct. 15, 1986:

Death row inmate Carlos DeLuna missed his appointment with death yesterday when a Corpus Christi federal judge granted him a stay just 12 hours before his scheduled execution. . . .

Steve Schiwetz, the former prosecutor who successfully sought the death penalty for DeLuna, said he was not surprised by the stay. "I expected it. These things take time. You just have to be patient," he said.

See supra note 131.

Linda Carrico, Judge Grants DeLuna Stay of Execution, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Oct. 15, 1986:

But Mary Vargas, Ms. Lopez's mother, said she was disappointed to hear of DeLuna's stay of execution.

"It's the only way I will feel that justice will be done because she didn't deserve to die," an upset Mrs. Vargas told the Caller. "I want him to pay for what he did to her. She offered him everything, yet he still killed her," Mrs. Vargas said. "I have asked over and over again, Why her?" . . .

Yesterday, DeLuna remained calm while awaiting transfer from death row to the Walls Unit where the death chamber is located. He received word of his stay while visiting with family members, prison officials said.

DeLuna continues to maintain his innocence. Since his trial, DeLuna has claimed he saw another man kill the store clerk.

See supra note 133.

See supra note 133.

Associated Press, Inmate Given Reprieve Hours Before Execution, Dallas Herald Times, Oct. 15, 1986:

A federal judge granted convicted killer Carlos DeLuna a stay of execution Tuesday, just 12 hours before he was to die by injection for the 1983 robbery-slaying of a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk. . . .

Upon hearing of the stay, DeLuna only said, "thank you," according to Charles Brown, Texas Department of Corrections spokesman.

DeLuna, 24, appeared calm Tuesday while waiting for word of his last-minute appeals, Brown said. He talked with other inmates and visited with a friend and relatives.

The convict took heart medication early Tuesday, but prison officials said they did not know his ailment.

Judge Blocks Execution of DeLuna, Oct. 15, 1986, (newspaper clipping from an unidentified Texas newspaper found in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice file on the Carlos DeLuna case, reporting that U.S. District Court Judge Head granted a stay "13 hours before he was to be strapped to a gurney and put to death. 'Thank goodness!' DeLuna, 24, responded when given the news about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday . . . .").

Chapter 15
Page: 9 of 29